~ I always ask myself a question: What is a person? What does it mean to be human? Maybe people will consider my new movies brutal again. But this violence is simply a reflection of what they really are, of what is in each of us to some degree. ~


At the end of last year, the world lost one of the geniuses of film art - Kim Ki-Dook. His idiosyncratic arthouse cinema, passionate stories, exceptional visual compositions, sensual, almost speechless but full-blooded characters and their raging emotions - all this raises the author to the level of one of the most important and characteristic contemporary directors. Controversial and denied by many, the talented Korean reminds us that the true purpose of art is to shift the layers within us, to confuse and rearrange us. That some movies are not for everyone, that cinema is not always the entrance to an unknown ideal world. That sometimes directorial decisions are the attempt of one's mind to comprehend the most incomprehensible.


Kim Ki-duk was born in 1960 in a small provincial town in South Korea. In his early years, the family moved to Seoul, where he attended an agricultural school. Extreme poverty, however, forced him to start working in a local factory. For some time he was attracted to the clergy and volunteered at a shelter for the blind, where he helped shape the frescoes in a local church. From 1990 to 1992 he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris.


In 1993, he won an award from the Screenwriters' Institute for his text in the film "Artist and Criminal Sentenced to Death." He made his directorial debut with the cash prize "Crocodile" ("Ag-o", 1996), greeted with great curiosity and enthusiasm by local critics.

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Ki-Duk's international breakthrough is with the film "The Island ”(Seom, 2000), described as "crazy and brilliant at the same time". Disturbing scenes of animal abuse interrupt the screening during the Venice Film Festival due to fainting spectators. The tape has been distributed in a censored version in the United Kingdom and America.

The film evokes mixed feelings that you either accept or if you fail, we fully understand you…


"Yes, this fact worries me. But it's the same with the food we eat every day, and people who eat animals don't seem to care that they've been killed. Animals are part of the consumer cycle. It looks a lot harsher on screen, but it doesn't really make a difference. And yes, there are cultural differences and maybe Americans will have a problem with that, but if they can be a little more sensitive to what is acceptable in different countries and cultures, I hope they won't be as extreme as shown on screen. . "

Roger Ebert defines the protagonist in this film - life, and the antagonist - time and change


"Spring, summer, autumn, winter… and spring again" (Spring, summer, fall, winter… and spring, 2003) is perhaps one of Ki-Duk's most famous works. A powerful and mysterious parable in the spirit of the Korean religious-philosophical tradition, which brings calm but also grabs you by the throat. The film is a phenomenal, introverted mantra for the soul, with stunning, visually brilliant scenes. The characters are almost speechless, and we learn about their feelings and emotions from their actions. This lack of remarks and dialogues is characteristic of the entire work of the Korean master, because according to him "words are often deceptive and meaningless. ". A curious fact is that the film was shot without a pre-written script.


In 2004, Ki-Duk won the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the Venice Masterpiece Festival.Stick No. 3 (3-Iron, 2004). The film is a wordless and silent love story that confronts the harsh reality with the magical, almost fabulous visual picture, saturated with sensuality and passion. Minimalist and gentle, the film relies more on gestures, expressions, feelings and suggestions to reach every cell of the viewer.

During the shooting of "The Dream (Bi-Mong, 2008) one of the actresses nearly died in an accident on the set, with Ki-Duk himself saving her from certain death. "In the beautiful and yet cruel, enchanting and yet tense, sad and yet sweet imaginary movie world I was creating, I had no fear of death at all. As I told the turbulent stories in an even more intense, painful, heartless, and heartbreaking way, all my emotions infected me like a virus. I became the most unhappy person, deluding myself that I was manipulating the world. There was nothing I could do at that moment. My inferiority complex created my films. shares the artist.


Deeply shocked by the incident, the director quit his job and lived far from civilization in a lonely wooden hut an hour's drive from Seoul. "In the last 2-3 years I have not found meaning in my life, so I did not make movies. I was out of my mind for a while and cried all the time. I hated everything. But then I thought that life is too long.

Arirang examines Kim's personal crisis caused by an incident during the filming of his previous film Dream


Thus, at the age of 52, after a long isolation and severe depression, Kim Ki-Duk returned to the stage with the documentary "Arirang (2011). The film is a kind of autobiography of the author, wandering through the labyrinths of the soul, a desperate search for comfort, superintimate confession and psychological catharsis. "It was a very difficult and painful time for me, I was not able to shoot. The fact that I managed to make Arirang during this period gave me a chance to make sense of everything myself. Now I am infinitely happy that I have the strength to make feature films again.


The project brings Ki-Dook a "Special Look" award at the Cannes Film Festival, and the director is more than emotional: "Let me fly over the hills - up and down… Sad, overjoyed… Injured, happy… Busy with this or that… All the emotions we experience in our lives. Countless people I met while making my films. The relationships we create are seemingly eternal, but they can break easily like thin paper… The cruel wounds I have inflicted (and received) on those who have abandoned me… All of us, enchanted by love, passion, hatred and the urge to kill "For me, it's all gathered in Arirang." I'm not sorry I spent my life in movies, but I still can't live without movies. I want to move forward, next to my movies.


His film "Pieta (2012) received the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 2012, where he was described by critics as "tense and emotional". Ki-Duk develops and unfolds his favorite, characteristic of all his work, theme of guilt and forgiveness. He explores the indestructible mother-son relationship (hence the reference to Michelangelo's work), and the author's deep idea is that one can be born again only through love.


Social and ruthless, the Korean ribbon is a sad allegory of confused values ​​in modern society, where beauty is already considered ugly and ugliness is a lofty ideal. A world where money is the only driving force. "Today, people are obsessed with the idea that money solves all problems. And money itself is at the root of most evils. Pieta is a fictional film with dramatic effects. The clash of money for pain only exacerbates the problem. - says the director. And on the occasion of the next accusations of extreme naturalism and brutality on some scenes, he adds: "Violence is part of this story, no, it can't be presented softer! We shot in the city where I grew up. I didn't go to school, as a child I worked in such factories. That life shapes my worldview. I had to study the mechanisms of technical devices and I understood how much they resemble the mechanisms with which people model their lives. After military service I had to go back to the factories and I found that I could not live like that. I accepted the challenge to study art in Paris. All this experience has become a source for my films.



The following year, "Moebius (2013) - a film about sexual transgression, violence, anger, masochism, murder and agony. Opinions about the film are again at both extremes - from "modern fable" to "poetic madness". Critics compare the story to a nightmare, and describe the family as "the most explosive" of all Ki-Duk's characters so far. Möbius is another reproach of the director to the South Korean upper class. "I criticize my country because I love it! My love for her doesn't mean I have to stop asking questions or closing my eyes to what's going on! ”


In 2017, the actress accused Kim Ki-Dook of violence on the set of Möbius. The following year, two more women filed lawsuits against the director for sexual assault. The Korean was found not guilty of all charges, but bitterness and scandals affected his desire to work. Disappointed, he spends more and more time outside his homeland, which he already describes as his "stepmother."

At the end of 2020, in Latvia, days before his 60th birthday, Kim Ki-Duk died of complications from a coronavirus. Alexei German, a famous Russian screenwriter, producer and actor, one of the closest friends of the genius Korean, is devastated: "He spent a long time in Moscow last year. He did not visit the fashionable and the rich, but the ordinary directors. He was friends with students. He lived strangely. Either he was hiding or he was looking for himself, he was completely lost. It was hard on his soul. Depression, accusations in Korea. Loneliness… He seems doomed to die alone, in a small windy country like Latvia. Sad! He was real. And history will judge where the balance between good and evil is. He will remain in film history!… This talented Korean with a strange face in a sad eastern mask who died on the edge of nothing… “

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